Hi everyone! With the SEC starting today, I guess you'll be hearing a bit more from me. Before the excitement begins, let's do a quick recap of the final regular tour stops of 2012 where 2 former world number ones made it to the winner's circle.
Moscow: Caroline Wozniacki, who won a tour leading 6 titles in 2011, book ends her somewhat dismal 2012 with her first premier title of the season. She beats top seed Samantha Stosur in 3 sets to clinch the title. Caroline was aggressive during the match and this win against one of the big hitters on the tour should give her some confidence for next year. As for Samantha, she ends 2012 empty handed after a breakthrough 2011 which saw her win her first slam. A somewhat dismal year for the 2011 US Open champion. It's worth noting that Sam has only won 3 titles in her career, one of which being a Grand Slam. Another former number one, Ana Ivanovic also had a decent week, recording solid victories before being outgunned by the top seed, Samantha Stosur.
Linz: Great to see Venus back in the winner's circle! With the victory, there is a possibility of seeing Venus play again at Sofia this year! It has been a difficult year for the elder Williams. Having returned to the tour following her diagnosis with an autoimmune disease which leaves her tired most of the time. While she started the season strongly in Miami, her results somewhat tailed off, culminating in a disappointing straight sets loss at her favourite tournament in Wimbledon. Venus however, is not one to give up, with the echoes of retirement at the background, she silences her critics once again to capture her first title since Dubai 2010. She recorded a good win over Roberta Vinci in the semi finals who herself is having a breakout year in singles. With this victory, Venus plants herself safely in the top 25 ensuring she is seeded for the 2013 Australian Open where she will surely be a dangerous player to face. Remember, she did win Wimbledon 2007 as the 24th seed! I cannot be more happy for such a classy and gracious champion and I really hope Venus can return back to the elite in 2013.
So with the end of the regular tour events of 2012, it's time to brace ourselves for the season ending championships. All top 8 players have descended upon Istanbul which featured the best SEC since NYC 2000 last year. Petra Kvitova looks to defend her title after a disappointing 2012. The one to watch however, is none other than Ms Serena Jameka Williams who hasn't played since the US Open. If Serena is healthy, look for her to win the title. However, Azarenka, who was painfully close to beating her at the US Open this year will look to try and get her first win over the younger Williams in more than 4 years.
A rather exciting prospect to end the season. Keep watching this space for predictions, commentary and other fun stuff!